Emily Moon, Plettenberg Bay $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
Many guests ask Mark Valentine if they can buy the objets d'art in the eight suites of this tastefully offbeat hotel, decorated in a funky amalgam of African sculptures, antlers, old photographs, and paintings. As of 2010, when Valentine opens an on-site gallery and shop, the answer will be yes. For now, the clean palette of the rooms—white-on-white textiles, sand-colored walls—keeps the bric-a-brac from feeling overdone. Huge leather sofas crowd the suites a bit, but they face onto a generous porch overlooking the winding Bitou River, about five miles from Plettenberg Bay. Guests can take complimentary kayaks out on the river to spot water birds and flocks of geese. Those who want to delve further into the region can book trips with the whale- and dolphin-watching company Ocean Blue, which Valentine co-owns. At night, locals mix with guests at the popular Emily's restaurant, and all are greeted by Oscar the dachshund, the hotel's friendly mascot.